The side for the school is located in the new Cossack village of Kachalinsky, to the West of Volgograd, Russia. The Cossacks are a nation with a rich history and vibrant culture. The design takes as its basis this unique heritage and seeks to combine a modern, future-oriented architecture, which respects the craft and traditions of the Cossacks.
The school sits at the heart of a Masterplan for the village by Henning Larsen Architects and is composed of four buildings. They are arranged around a central courtyard that offers protection from the extremes of the Russian climate as well as a focus for community events. Each of the four parts has its own identity and individual scale, ranging from the intimate one story Lower School building with an emphasis on flexible activity spaces and an immediate connection to outside play spaces beyond, up to the three story Upper School building which is organized around a generous, central atrium; a focus for collaborative group work and interaction.
The central courtyard also allows the administration and sports buildings to be accessed separately from the teaching blocks. This ensures that the library and sports hall can be used separately by the community. Furthermore, it supports both, a safe and secure center for learning and a welcoming, vibrant center for the community.
Roof lights provide the building with high quality light and ensure natural ventilation for each block, as well as giving the building a unique identity. They make the school an instantly recognizable landmark at the same time responding to the Cossack construction traditions.